Monday, June 23, 2008

Data Centres in a box – What’s the go?

Portable all-in-one Data Centres are starting to become more prevalent. First was the APC Data Centre in a truck, and then came the Sun Portable Data Centre in a container and more recently (and more extreme) a floating Data Centre on a cargo ship.

I’m sure there are more businesses out there who are selling their own spin on the portable Data Centre, but what does it actually mean to have one of these services available to you?

I think that the most common use for these will be as a ‘service’ meaning you rent the ‘box’ for a period of time and contained within that box is a plethora of server equipment, networking kit and some form of portable high-speed internet connection (Satellite?) of which will either come pre-configured or self-configured.

I think the uses of these portable Data Centres are fairly limited however, and are probably confined to a few key areas:
- Disaster Recovery – As long as you can get your hands on one of these portable data centres fairly quickly (depending on business SLA’s), these could be very useful in providing a big punch fairly quickly without the need for costly ‘on standby’ equipment – You just need the space to put the truck, container or ship.
- Companies that have a large requirement to be very mobile – For example a news network, or a TV network covering motorsport, an events company that has a large IT dependency or even a geographical research / materials company (land or water)

I suspect the use for a floating Data Centre would be fairly limited – And probably for quite illegal activities (international waters). Which brings about an interesting question – Who’s laws would the data centre be liable to follow? And who would enforce them?

Anyway – That’s it from me – I’m back from holidays now, so you will start to see some more activity from me over the coming weeks.

Have a good one : - )

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Microsoft LiveMesh – What’s it all about – And my initial experience

As I write this, I am installing the latest web based application from Microsoft called LiveMesh onto my laptop.

I’m not sure what to realistically expect, however the marketing catch phrase from the LiveMesh site “Live Mesh puts you at the center of your digital world, seamlessly connecting you to the people, devices, programs, and information you care about—available wherever you happen to be”.

This statement instantly gets me thinking about a seamless way of storing and accessing my files from any device that I have. I suspect that I’m not unlike most people – I have a work laptop, a personal PC and a mobile phone (running Windows Mobile).

Because I spend so much of my time at work I sometimes have my personal files on my work laptop (and vice versa). One such example is my current Uni assignment (on Cryptography). I do quite a bit of work on these assignments during my lunch break, and then I save the files off to a USB thumb drive to copy over to my home PC.

I know there are other various “cloud computing” type web sites and applications around that let you store your files online, however they are a hassle to use.

The Microsoft LiveMesh experience seems to be promising more than just another online repository for your files – And a quick overview of its features it looks like it just very well might live up to its promises. These features include:
- Multiple devices synchronised with the latest content from the LiveMesh site - This could include not only your own PC’s, but family and friends PC’s that you want to share files to – For example photo’s
- The ability to access the files from the LiveMesh site directly (no matter what PC you are using) – For example at an Internet CafĂ©
- The ability to structure your LiveMesh storage using Folders. From the looks of things these folders can be replicated back to the PC
- Remote Desktop connection sharing – Now this could be pretty cool indeed

The LiveMesh application currently only supports Windows XP and Vista – It looks like future enhancements will include synchronisation capabilities to your Windows Mobile Smartphone and also Mac OS.

So – It looks like Microsoft are making some pretty big promises here – I’ve just completed the installation on my Windows Vista laptop, and I’ll also install it on my home PC (Windows XP) in the next day or so, and will let you know what transpires.

Have a good one : - )

PS - The graphics do look pretty slick – Here are a couple of snap-shots: